Friday 9th September was one of those hairsplitting days-- at least until 20 minutes into the game. The suspense and anticipation on the pitch was palpable. Centum FC players got there early, warmed up, stretching going over plays and strategy. The team looked immaculate in its kit- stripped blue and white jerseys as well as blue shorts and stockings. Jokes and friendly banter thinly veiled the tension among the players. Focused looks and continuous pacing and jogging revealed it. There was doubt— at least until 20 minutes into the game. Driving up to Impala grounds for the match, players wondered how they would fair against Sidian Bank. According to the grapevine, Sidian was a seasoned side, rising stars in the bankers’ league. Odds seemed against us. The weeks leading to Centum FC vs Sidian were fun and light-hearted. For us Centum FC was a healthy, fun way of winding up the week. Attendance grew gradually from 7 to 14. Balls were fumbled, shots were off the mark, and injuries became the norm. Most of the team were great players once in their school and college days. A lot of practice was needed to renew these skills. When Sidian challenged us to a match it gave the team a goal to focus on. Everyone on the team practiced with one intent-- to beat Sidian.
The fans started streaming in at 4.30 pm their laptops tucked away with dim memories of deliverables and deadlines to be brought out later. It was Centum FC’s day. The fans were full of energy, cheering and jeering, even hijacking the PA system a few times to cheer their team on.
Those first 20 minutes of the game settled it. Job Muriuki, with surprising dexterity got past Sidian’s defense in the 10th minute and chipped the ball gently into Sidian Bank’s net. Sidian seemed lost after that. The game was played almost entirely on Sidian’s half of the pitch. The uncertainty vanished and our side made bold sorties into Sidian’s penalty area. After a number of shots on goal, Job deftly scored the second goal in the 20th minute of the match giving us a comfortable lead.
Job Muriuki, the man of the match.
Sidian made few desperate attempts after that to come on top but the match became less about who would win and more about how big our margin would be. The trend continued into the second half as Kennedy Otieno scored the third goal. Sidian Bank conceded a penalty that Centum FC goalie, Collins Waswa took and scored comfortably. The Sidian Side graciously conceded defeat and our team is hungry for the next challenge.